“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Mouth of Wilson in Grayson County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Grayson County

— The Crooked Road — Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail —

Grayson County Panel image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, May 26, 2013
1. Grayson County Panel
Inscription.  Grayson County. Western Grayson County has produced fine traditional musicians, performers at school entertainments, fiddlers’ conventions, and community gatherings for many generations. Among them was the old-time string band, the Rugby Gully Jumpers (Walter Henderson, fiddle, Estil Ball, guitar, and Wade Reedy, mandolin) recorded in the 1930s by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. Outstanding finger-style guitarist Estil Ball and wife, accordionist Orna Reedy Ball, built a national reputation as gospel singers from local radio shows and independent recordings. They also performed with Blair Reedy, Charles Harless, and Charles Hodges as the Friendly Gospel Singers. Old-time banjoist Jont Blevins was admired here for his unique style and powerful rhythm.

The Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition is held annually here in the park on the third Saturday in June. Proceeds from the festival support a scholarship fund for mountain youngsters learning traditional music. A National Heritage Award winner, Henderson is the nation’s best known luthier and lives nearby. A Henderson guitar is on display at the Visitors’
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Center inside the park. Grayson Highlands State Park has 15 miles of trails for walking, bicycling and horseback riding with majestic views. It offers a profusion of wild flowers during warm months, many migrating birds during spring and fall, and—if you are lucky—perhaps a glimpse of some of the wild ponies found here.

The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Coalfields region, southwest Virginia is blessed with historic and contemporary music venues, musicians, and fretted instrument makers. Historically isolated, the region retained its strong musical legacy by passing traditions down through musical families to an appreciative community.

Old time mountain music, bluegrass, and gospel can be enjoyed all year long and several museums are devoted to showcasing the area’s rich musical heritage.

The Crooked Road winds through the ruggedly beautiful Appalachian Mountains and leads you to the major hotspots of old time mountain music, country music, and bluegrass. Alive and kickin’ for today’s fans, these venues preserve and celebrate musical traditions passed down through generations. Annual festivals, weekly concerts, radio shows, and jam sessions ring out to large audiences and intimate gatherings. Please visit the Crooked Road website to plan your trip to coincide with the
The Crooked Road Panel image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, May 26, 2013
2. The Crooked Road Panel
current entertainment events.
Erected by The Crooked Road.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Arts, Letters, Music. In addition, it is included in the The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail series list.
Location. 36° 36.74′ N, 81° 29.467′ W. Marker is near Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, in Grayson County. Marker is at the intersection of Highlands Parkway (U.S. 58) and Grayson Highland Lane, on the right when traveling west on Highlands Parkway. It is between Mouth of Wilson and Whitetop at the entrance to Grayson Highlands State Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mouth of Wilson VA 24363, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. John Deere Mower Model 2 (a few steps from this marker); Interpreter's Cabin (approx. 0.6 miles away); Rock House Ridge Trail (approx. ¾ mile away); Weavers Cabin (approx. 1.3 miles away); Jones Homestead (approx. 1.3 miles away); Spencer Cabin (approx. 1.3 miles away); Spring House (approx. 1.3 miles away); North Carolina / Virginia (approx. 3 miles away in North Carolina).
More about this marker. The Grayson County panel has a photo of Estil and Orna Ball with his guitar
Grayson County – The Crooked Road Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, May 26, 2013
3. Grayson County – The Crooked Road Marker
and her accordion, a photograph of the park’s shaggy-maned wild ponies, and a photograph of Wayne, Walter, and Max Henderson. The Crooked Road panel shows The Carter Family on the upper right, Dr. Ralph Stanley in the center right and a map of western Virginia showing stops on The Crooked Road and “You are Here.”
Also see . . .
1. Estil C. Ball – Wikipedia Entry. “E.C. Ball’s most famous composition was a piece he called ‘Tribulations,’ based, as he told Alan Lomax in 1959, ‘on the last book in the Bible: Revelations.’ It has been frequently covered by other musicians as ‘Trials, Troubles, Tribulations’.” (Submitted on December 15, 2013.) 

2. Wayne C. Henderson: How Guitar Making Saved His Life. This 2009 Making Contact radio documentary by Ben Hubbard is 29 minutes long. “When people call I say, well, just write me a letter with what you want and I’ll put you on the list and if I live long enough then that will be great.” (Submitted on December 15, 2013.) 
The Crooked Road image. Click for full size.
4. The Crooked Road
Close-up of the marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on December 15, 2013, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 570 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 15, 2013, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photo of the Henderson guitar at the park’s Visitors’ Center • Photos of Grayson County musicians, then and now • Can you help?

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Dec. 11, 2023